Punitive Damages Ordered Against Pub After Bouncer's "Reprehensible" Beating of Patron

Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, awarding damages against a bouncer and the pub that employed him following a beating of an unruly patron.
In this week’s case (Reimer v. Rooster’s Country Cabaret Ltd.) the Plaintiff was physically removed from the Defendant pub after he tried to enter while concealing a beer in his cargo shorts.  Moments later he was “seriously beaten” by the Defendant bouncer and other individuals.   The Plaintiff suffered a variety of injuries which fortunately recovered largely without incident.  Although the Defendant bouncer was charged criminally he was acquitted at the related criminal trial.
Mr. Justice Jenkins found the bouncer liable for the damages and further found the pub vicariously liable for the assault.  In ordering the defendant’s jointly and severally liable to pay punitive damages the Court provided the following reasons:
[97]         The conduct of Mr. Turnau and Mr. Barber in particular, and to a slightly lesser extent the other security staff who either participated in the beating or stood idly by while the beating continued, was unnecessary, totally unacceptable, “high-handed, malicious, arbitrary and reprehensible” to a major degree. Further, compensatory damages in this case are inadequate to compensate Mr. Reimer. They would not provide the defendants with, as Gerow J. put it, their “just deserts”, nor would they serve the objectives of “retribution, deterrence and denunciation” of the defendants’ actions.
[98]         The assault in the parking lot was unprovoked and the entire episode should have ended with Mr. Reimer and Mr. Murchie walking out through the parking lot. It is also particularly objectionable that the beating was carried out in front of several of the patrons of Rooster’s who had proceeded outside and into the parking lot, where, as completely independent witnesses, they were exposed to incredible brutality.
[99]         Considering all of the authorities referred to me on the issue of quantum, I award a sum of $20,000 as punitive damages.
[100]     The award of punitive damages is made against both Mr. Turnau and Rooster’s, as I have found the latter directly liable in addition to being vicariously liable.

Assault, Battery, Mr. Justice Jenkins, punitive damages, Reimer v. Rooster's Country Cabaret Ltd.

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ERIK
MAGRAKEN

Personal Injury Lawyer

When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

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